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The weight is off his shoulders

Anthony Moore, known as Romanthony, has died at age 46. [more inside]
posted by Taft on May 20, 2013 - 19 comments

The lost history of Dr. Alice E. Kober and her research on Linear B

For more than 50 years, Linear B was an ancient language that hadn't given up its secret. Professor Bennett spent much of the 1940s hammering out a list of about 80 characters, and in 1951 he published the first definitive list of the signs of Linear B. The next year, archaeologist and Linear B enthusiast Michael Ventris finished "breaking" the code, with some hope from the research of Bennett, and another scholar named Alice Kober, but apparently she was rather hard to get on with and they went their separate ways. Except the magnitude of Doctor Kober's painstaking and self-sacrificing work is still largely unacknowledged. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 14, 2013 - 20 comments

Smoke and Frost, separated too soon.

Fum, the feline half of the Internet-famous cat/owl duo Fum and Gebra, passed away on May 4 from renal obstruction due to feline urologic syndrome. He was three human years old. [more inside]
posted by mykescipark on May 13, 2013 - 17 comments

Obitfilter

Did you know you can pay to have the obituary for a non-famous loved one put in the New York Times? The family of Antonia W. "Toni" Larroux of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi did.
"Waffle House lost a loyal customer on April 30, 2013. Antonia W. "Toni" Larroux died after a battle with multiple illnesses: lupus, rickets, scurvy, kidney disease and feline leukemia."
The obituary goes on to make fun of four generations of family (from her father to her grandchildren), the Hancock County Library Foundation and the clergyman presiding at her memorial service, closing with the statement that "Anyone wearing black will not be admitted to the memorial."
via Miss Cellania of Neatorama
posted by oneswellfoop on May 5, 2013 - 62 comments

When your abuser or estranged relative dies

When your abuser or estranged relative dies - funerals, obituaries, & condolences. This is a practical, thoughtful and informative website created by two Christian women who are knowledgeable about dealing with pathological narcissists and sociopaths within a family context, in particular the topic of "Silent Partners". [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on May 4, 2013 - 29 comments

\m/ . \m/

Guitarist Jeff Hanneman of Slayer has died at 49.

A founding member of the long-running thrash institution, Jeff Hanneman passed away of liver failure after a long battle with necrotizing fasciitis thought to have been caused by a spider bite (previously.) Hanneman wrote music and lyrics for many of the band's most iconic songs, including Angel of Death, Raining Blood, South of Heaven, and Seasons in the Abyss.
posted by Existential Dread on May 2, 2013 - 102 comments

RIP Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly

Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly, one half of the rap duo Kriss Kross was found dead today at age 34 of what is being investigated as a possible drug overdose. [more inside]
posted by The Gooch on May 1, 2013 - 67 comments

"it’s one thing to survive, and another to live."

This past September, Jessica Ann Lum won a "Best Feature" award in the student-journalist category from the Online News Association, for her Master's project: "Slab City Stories." Less than four months later, on January 13, 2013, she passed away. She was 25. "Jessica loved to tell people’s stories. This is hers." [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 1, 2013 - 12 comments

99 is the magic number

David Gold, founder of Southern California's (and beyond) ubiquitous 99 Cents Only Stores, has died. [more inside]
posted by 2N2222 on Apr 27, 2013 - 18 comments

Jocasta Innes, 78, influential writer on decor, cooking

The author of The Pauper's Cookbook , Paint Magic and more than 50 other titles, has died in London. If you ever thought about stippling, sponging, stencilling, scumbling, rag-rolling and distressing and/or color-washing a wall, you might well have been influenced by Ms. Innes.
posted by Ideefixe on Apr 24, 2013 - 9 comments

A Compassionate "Human Computer", RIP

Shakuntala Devi, the Indian "human computer," passed away on Sunday. The NY Times first did a profile on her when she visited the US in 1976, during which she computed the cube root of a 9 digit integer in her head, but could not remember that she had been to the US once before -- over 20 years prior. Bob Bemer (inventor of the Escape key previously) remembers meeting her in 1953 on the TV show You Asked For It (which had previously featured a race between an abacus and a calculator). Psychologist Arthur Jensen (who did controversial research on race and IQ) wrote a paper on Shakuntala's exceptional ability in 1990. Shakuntala made her living as an astrologer and authored numerous books mostly on mathematical puzzles and tricks, but also The World of Homosexuals (1977), one of the earliest ethnographic studies of gay people in India. Specifically about gays in her hometown of Bangalore, Shakuntala called for "not only the decriminalisation of homosexuality in India, but also its 'full and complete acceptance' by the heterosexual population so that the Indian homosexual may lead a dignified and secure life."
posted by bluefly on Apr 23, 2013 - 28 comments

How to Live at the Met

If you ever wanted to run away and live at the museum, you probably read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Author and two-time Newbery Award winner E. L. Konigsburg who gave the runaway Kincaid siblings a mystery to solve at the Metropolitan Museum of Art died today at age 83. Konigsburg attended what later became Carnegie Mellon University, majoring in chemistry, and went on to teach science before writing children's books. (previously)
posted by girlhacker on Apr 20, 2013 - 77 comments

Carmine Infantino Comic Book Artist RIP

Comic book legend Carmine Infantino has died at the age of 87. Beginning his career in the early 1940's, Infantino created or co-created stalwart DC characters such The Flash, Batgirl, Black Canary, and Deadman. He also served as editorial director at DC, and added artists and writers like Jack Kirby, Neal Adams, Denny O'Neill and Bernie Wrightson to the company's roster.
posted by marxchivist on Apr 4, 2013 - 37 comments

You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now.

Prolific and well-respected film critic Roger Ebert has died at 70. [more inside]
posted by Snarl Furillo on Apr 4, 2013 - 499 comments

How to write about scientists who happen to be women

The New York Times has faced criticism after an obituary of Yvonne Brill, rocket scientist, opened with "She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. “The world’s best mom,” her son Matthew said." [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Mar 31, 2013 - 90 comments

Vernon Dursley, RIP

Richard Griffiths, star of stage and screen, perhaps globally best known for his role as Harry Potter's ill-willed uncle, has died at the age of 65 due to complications from heart surgery. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Mar 29, 2013 - 63 comments

“I gave all my money to head waiters and tarts”

“The people I burgled got rich by greed and skulduggery. They indulged in the mechanics of ostentation — they deserved me and I deserved them." Peter Scott, known as the "King of the Cat Burglars", has died at the age of 82.
posted by Hartster on Mar 23, 2013 - 11 comments

A Little Bit of Home Has Been Lost

Scott Kennedy - Texan, comedian, founder of Comics Ready to Entertain (USO alternative for incredibly dangerous deployment locations), and co-founder of Gay Comedy Jam passed away on March 14th. The silence was deafening for one writer, who went on to intersperse pithy fury with honest admiration in an unforgettable mix of eulogy, obituary, and media rant. [more inside]
posted by batmonkey on Mar 22, 2013 - 6 comments

Goodnight, Bebo

Bebo Valdes has passed away. A giant of Cuban music, he was a "big man whose music revealed a huge heart." He famously worked with Nat King Cole, and also handed down his musical chops to son Chucho, who would become one of the founding members of the band Irakere. There are some videos inside the fold to allow us to celebrate Bebo and his music. [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Mar 22, 2013 - 11 comments

Nigerian author Chinua Achebe has died at age 82.

"Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, acclaimed in part for his groundbreaking 1958 novel "Things Fall Apart," has died, his British publisher, Penguin Books, said Friday." Set in precolonial Nigeria, Things Fall Apart portrays the story of a farmer, Okonkwo, who struggles to preserve his customs despite pressure from British colonizers. The story resonated in post-independent Africa, and the character became a household name in the continent. [more inside]
posted by jquinby on Mar 22, 2013 - 45 comments

In memory of Wan Joon Kim, the unlikely Korean godfather of gangsta rap

1985 marked a few beginnings for gangsta rap, with Schooly D releasing the influential P.S.K. What Does It Mean? (YT), and a few Korean swap-meet vendors opening the Compton Fashion Center, the first indoor swap meet. It was there and then that Wan Joon Kim got his start as an unlikely godfather of gangsta rap. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 15, 2013 - 6 comments

An obituary to fit the man

Harry Weathersby Stamps, ladies' man, foodie, natty dresser, and accomplished traveler, died on Saturday, March 9, 2013. Harry Stamps' obituary, penned by his daughter Amanda Lewis.
posted by zerobyproxy on Mar 12, 2013 - 27 comments

In Memory of Paul Bearer

Bill Moody, best known as professional wrestling manager Paul Bearer, passed away Tuesday at the age of 58. [more inside]
posted by uncleozzy on Mar 7, 2013 - 27 comments

The best game you can name

Canada's legendary Stompin' Tom Connors died today at 77.
posted by mightygodking on Mar 6, 2013 - 119 comments

The interior life of an episode of Neighbours

"Misadventures was written in a flat, artless style — as The Daily Telegraph’s critic put it, like “a cross between a police officer giving evidence in court and a slightly demented grandmother intent on telling you everything over a cup of tea”. The curious tale of Sylvia Smith - the author who achieved fame in her fifties on the publication of her memoir of an ordinary life, one which sometimes baffled critics.
posted by mippy on Feb 28, 2013 - 22 comments

Counting Roses

Iconclastic game designer Kenji Eno passed away last week. [more inside]
posted by byanyothername on Feb 26, 2013 - 15 comments

Bob Godfrey 1921-2013

On Thursday, February 21st, influential British animator Bob Godfrey passed away at the age of 91. (Guardian, BBC,Cartoon Brew, Mirror, Rueters, Telegraph, and yes, even the Daily Mail. [more inside]
posted by louche mustachio on Feb 23, 2013 - 12 comments

Kevin Ayers 16 August 1944 – 18 February 2013

The Guardian reports the death of Kevin Ayers, founding member of Soft Machine and important figure in the Canterbury scene which included bands like Soft Machine, Gong and Caravan. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Feb 20, 2013 - 32 comments

The Lafcadio Hearn of Our Time

Donald Richie, American author, journalist, critic and expert on Japan, dies at 88.
Smilingly excluded here in Japan, politely stigmatised, I can from my angle attempt only objectivity, since my subjective self will not fit the space I am allotted . . . how fortunate I am to occupy this niche with its lateral view. In America I would be denied this place. I would live on the flat surface of a plain. In Japan, from where I am sitting, the light falls just right – I can see the peaks and valleys, the crags and crevasses.
-- from The Japan Journals, 1947-2004
[more inside]
posted by Ice Cream Socialist on Feb 19, 2013 - 23 comments

Showtime is over.

RIP Jerry Buss, self-made man, well-liked poker player, and owner of the LA Lakers for 34 years.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Feb 18, 2013 - 11 comments

The songs are left unsung and hung upon the scars

Tandyn Almer, composer of Along Comes Mary, died last month. Dawn Eden wrote about Almer after attending his funeral, and more recently he was profiled in The Washington Post.
posted by maurice on Feb 17, 2013 - 8 comments

Donald Byrd December 9, 1932 – February 4, 2013

"One day, in the early 1960's, Mongo Santamaria called up Herbie Hancock and asked him to sit in as a pianist with Mongo's band, which was then performing at Club Cubano InterAmericano on Prospect Avenue, a popular Latin music spot. Herbie was reluctant to do it because he never played Latin before, but accepted the offer and was doing pretty well by the end of the first set. Then during intermission, Donald Byrd, who was there, asked Herbie to play his original composition "Watermelon Man" for Mongo. When Herbie started doing this, Mongo's band, especially his huge percussion section, started joining in, and before you knew it the whole club was dancing. Mongo was so excited by what happened that he asked if he could record the song. He did, and it became his greatest hit." [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Feb 11, 2013 - 26 comments

"No one noticed, they found, until the cords had lost an entire foot."

John E. Karlin, Bell Labs' first behavioral psychologist and the father of human factors engineering, has died at the age of 94. [more inside]
posted by spitefulcrow on Feb 11, 2013 - 32 comments

Respect must be paid

Since March 21, 1994, when the first regular obituary segment was dropped into an Academy Awards show, a spot on the yearly scroll of recently deceased movie luminaries has become one of the evening’s most hotly contested honors. And as in most Oscar races it is the focus of sometimes ferocious campaigning.
posted by Chrysostom on Feb 9, 2013 - 16 comments

Reg Presley 12 June 1941 – 4 February 2013

Yesterday morning Reg Presley, the lead singer of the Troggs, died in his sleep from cancer. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Feb 5, 2013 - 21 comments

Batteries not included

André Cassagnes, the inventor of Etch A Sketch, has died aged 86. [Telegraph] [Guardian] [Washington Post] [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Feb 2, 2013 - 25 comments

"Mr. Koch is survived by New York itself."

"He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith. He fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people. Above all, he loved his country, the United States of America, in whose armed forces he served in World War II." - a self-written epitaph by the former 105th Mayor of New York City: Edward Irving Koch.
"Hizzoner" passed away on Friday morning at the age of 88, and the New York Times City Room blog spent the day collecting and posting stories about him. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 1, 2013 - 53 comments

Farewell to a visionary musician and musical thinker

Sadly, it's time to say farewell to a unique and visionary musician and musical thinker who developed and articulated an extraordinary method of directing large-ensemble improvisation with a method that he dubbed "conduction". Mr. Butch Morris has left us, but his ideas will surely reverberate in the hearts and minds of creative musicians and lovers of creative music everywhere.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jan 29, 2013 - 10 comments

Stanley Karnow, 1925-2013

Stanley Karnow, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and historian, has died at age 87. He won the prize in 1990 for his book In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines (discussed on Booknotes). He is best known, however for his work on Vietnam. His book Vietnam: A History was widely acclaimed and its companion series on PBS, Vietnam: A Television History won six Emmys and a Peabody award and was one of the most widely watched documentaries on PBS. He discussed the war in 2000 in this Salon interview. Needless to say, his reporting was not appreciated by everyone.
posted by TedW on Jan 28, 2013 - 9 comments

Lynn Willis

Chaosium has announced the death of Lynn Willis. Willis was creator or co-creator of many boardgames and RPGs, including probably the most influential horror RPG, Call of Cthulhu, and my personal favorite, Ghostbusters. Obituary by Ken Hite.
posted by jiawen on Jan 19, 2013 - 53 comments

To tell the story to someone else...

In 1974, Leon Leyson was one of a group of Jews who greeted Oskar Schindler when he visited Los Angeles. It was the first time the two had seen each other since the war. He began to introduce himself, but Schindler interrupted: "I know who you are," Schindler said, grinning at the middle-aged man before him. "You're Little Leyson." On Sunday, the youngest name on Schindler's List passed away at the age of 83. "The truth is, I did not live my life in the shadow of the Holocaust," he told the Portland Oregonian in 1997. "I did not give my children a legacy of fear. I gave them a legacy of freedom." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 14, 2013 - 35 comments

Open access, open internet, closed book

Aaron Swartz, web technologist, has committed suicide. First mentioned on Metafilter for his involvement in the standardization of RSS in 2001 as a ninth-grader, most of Swartz's 26 years were devoted to leaving a lasting impact on the web. Swartz co-founded Infogami, which merged with the internet aggregator Reddit, and also founded the Internet activist organization Demand Progress which fought against the SOPA/PIPA legislation. His framework for web servers, web.py, was first released in 2006 when Reddit switched from Lisp to Python and continues to be actively used and updated. In a 2008 attempt to make a public version of the contents of the PACER public court records database, Swartz angered government officials when they learned he had downloaded 20 million articles, which he subsequently made freely available. In 2011 he was indicted for data theft for downloading large amounts from the academic article repository JSTOR. Despite JSTOR's statement indicating "no interest in this becoming an ongoing legal matter," the US case continued with additional charges, to which Aaron pled innocent in September of 2012. [more inside]
posted by Llama-Lime on Jan 12, 2013 - 528 comments

"the arts are just a part of the weapons of life"

The poet Jayne Cortez passed away this past December 28th in New York City (New York Times obituary). She started publishing her poems in the late 1960s and in the 70s began performing her poetry backed by music, first in collaboration with bassist Richard Davis, and then backed by her own band The Firespitters. Some of their tracks have found their way to YouTube: I See Chano Pozo, If the Drum Is a Woman, There It Is, Maintain Control & Economic Love Song I, Everybody Wants to Be Somebody, Takin' the Blues Back Home, Talk to Me (for Don Cherry), I've Been Searching, You Can Be and Endangered Species List Blues. Just two years ago she performed solo with her son by Ornette Coleman, drummer Denardo Coleman: Find Your Own Voice, I'm Gonna Shake and She Got He Got. In 1997 she was featured on University of California television network in the series Artists on the Cutting Edge where she read poems and discussed her work. Finally, here's a brief clip from the 1982 documentary Poetry in Motion, where she was interviewed.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 5, 2013 - 4 comments

Gerda Lerner: "In my courses, the teachers told me about a world in which ostensibly one-half the human race is doing everything significant and the other half doesn’t exist. I asked myself how this checked against my own life experience. ‘This is garbage; this is not the world in which I have lived,’ I said."

Feminist historian Gerda Lerner has passed away at 92. An original member of the National Organization for Women, Lerner was a pioneer in the field of women's history, teaching what is thought to be the first women’s history course in the world and later establishing the first women's history graduate program in the United States. She led a fascinating life. [more inside]
posted by Morrigan on Jan 4, 2013 - 17 comments

Beate Sirota Gordon, 1923-2012; "The Only Woman In The Room"

Beate Sirota Gordon, Long-Unsung Heroine of Japanese Women’s Rights, Dies at 89: a NYT obituary relates the fascinating story of a young woman who was just the right person in just the right place at just the right time and managed to strike a blow for gender equality. [more inside]
posted by flex on Jan 4, 2013 - 20 comments

Keiji Nakazawa, 1939-2012

Keiji Nakazawa, the manga artist and creator of Barefoot Gen (previously),his autobiographical account of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, died on the 19th of December, still living in Hiroshima. His obituary is up on The Comics Journal website, while comics blogger David Brothers adds a more personal note about discovering Barefoot Gen as a preteen.
posted by MartinWisse on Jan 4, 2013 - 15 comments

Cities and the Soul

With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else. December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities -- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan, the explorer Marco Polo describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 30, 2012 - 26 comments

People must not create a myth, we're not different than other people

"Edlinger began to climb. As the last competitor, everyone at Snowbird knew how high he must get to beat his rivals and win the event. With apparent ease, he climbed past their high-points, until pausing beneath a huge overhang that had defeated all-comers. At that moment, a narrow shaft of sunlight pierced the cloud cover and illuminated Edlinger. When he completed the route, the only one from the world's best to do so, the crowd erupted. Until this point, American climbers had been unsure about competition climbing. After Edlinger, they were converted." - Patrick Edlinger, age 52, died on December 10, after years of battling depression following a near-death fall in the nineties that prevented him from climbing at the same level. [more inside]
posted by Riton on Dec 23, 2012 - 10 comments

The Real Dr. House, R.I.P.

William F. House, known by many in the field as the "Father of Neurotology," has died at the age of 89. Dr. House is credited with developing the cochlear implant, pioneering the use of the operative microscope in ear and brain surgery, and, with his brother Howard, establishing the House Ear Institute. [more inside]
posted by robstercraw on Dec 13, 2012 - 2 comments

Ravi Shankar has died.

Ravi Shankar, sitar virtuoso, has died at 92.
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Dec 11, 2012 - 126 comments

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